Portugal was a second home growing up for me. It is where my parents were born, where I spent my summer vacations with my grandparents, and it is still my favorite place to visit. Before we were engaged, on our first trip to Portugal together, we took a day trip to Guimarães. We immediately fell in love with the city’s charm and character. In fact, while sitting at a café in the town square, having a glass of wine, we even discussed how this would be the perfect location for a wedding. Fast forward three years, and happening by chance, our amazing wedding planners presented us with the Paço dos Duques de Bragança as an option. We were shocked as it wasn’t on our initial list and we didn’t know it was a wedding venue, but we knew right then that it was meant to be.
The palace is a unique venue. Its grandeur was very intimidating considering we wanted a smaller wedding. But at the same time, it is extremely beautiful and elegant. Throw in candlelight and a perfect summer night under the stars – we had no doubt that it would still be an intimate wedding. And hey, what girl wouldn’t want to get married in a castle?
Before our wedding, two of our close friends offered us a piece of advice that they had received. They said, “No matter what, don’t get separated. Stay together the whole time or else the night will get away from you.” We took this to heart, and it was the best advice we could have received. From the time we met at the altar at 5 PM until the sun was coming up and the party still going strong at 5 AM, we were inseparable, sharing every little detail together. We had two moments that were shared between just the two of us that will always be some of our fondest memories of the day. The first was our first look, and it was everything we wanted. Quiet, intimate, sharing that moment of excitement – “We’re about to get married!” – to start the day right. The second was the first time we were being introduced as husband and wife. To keep it a surprise, we decided that we were going to wait to see the inside of the venue until this moment. Once we turned the corner, we both let out two gasps. It was a year’s worth of planning in one instant, and thanks to our amazing wedding planners, it surpassed our wildest expectations.
From our awesome groom, Eric: Any other “destination wedding” location couldn’t compare, not just because of the country’s beauty and people, but due to the place it holds in the hearts of my bride and her family.